Native American Women in the Late 19th Century

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Date Submitted: 11/25/2012 04:36 PM

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Native American Women in the late 19th Century

Native American women during the late 19th century endured a lot. They were removed from their homes, had their lives interrupted to make way for new settlers, economic ambitions and what Americans referred to as their "superior civilization" (DuBois & Dumenil, 2009). In addition to being forced to live on reservations, where they could no longer live as they chose as they had little or no control over what they ate or what they did, some were going to war to fight for their families, land and freedoms. The male warriors, women and children were constantly on the move to avoid pursuing troops (DuBois & Dumenil, 2009).

Many Native Americans were forced to live on reservations. At these reservations, they were unable to support themselves either by farming or hunting; they became virtual prisons. They had to get their food and clothing from federal agents who often embezzled as much as they disbursed. These events helped shape how Native Americans thought about American society. With the way they were treated by the American people, it is understandable how they could view Americans as negative and controllers of their lives; that they were a part of a society that did not accept their ways.

Native American Policy can be defined as the laws and operations developed and adapted in the United States to outline the relationship between Native Americans and the federal government (Haug). The U.S. government’s policies towards Native Americans in the second half of the nineteenth century were influenced by the desire to expand westward into territories occupied by these Indian tribes (Haug). In accordance with Through Women's Eyes by Ellen Carol DuBois and Lynn Dumenil, alongside reservation life, U.S. policy forced native children into government-run boarding schools and were forced to be their definition of “civilized” by reeducating them in the values and ways of dominant American culture. Thousands of children...